Image

❄ Let It Snow by Heidi Cullinan ❄

I love the holiday season (not so unusual there I guess!) and reading all the wonderful books that are filled with stories of love and sharing the Christmas spirit. In the lead up to Christmas I will post reviews for Xmas themed m/m romances and in case you are a fan of carols, a link so that you can listen while you read.

The first story is Let It Snow by Heidi Cullinan which has a wonderful Christmas Eve happy ending! And of course the first carol is Let It Snow by Boyz II Men!

❄❄❄❄ ❄❄❄❄

The Minnesota Snow Series:

  • Let It Snow (book #1) – in this review
  • I’m actually not sure about the rest of the series! 🙂

❄❄❄❄ ❄❄❄❄

Let It SnowLet It Snow by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.

So what did I think?

A fairy tale with lots of Christmas spirit! Let It Snow was a cute and sweet take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears as Frankie finds the bear that is just right for him!

Frankie’s car runs off the road in a snowstorm, and he finds shelter in a cottage in the woods which comes complete with oatmeal and three lumberjacks. It’s big, grumpy Papa Bear that grabs Frankie’s attention.

Frankie and Marcus couldn’t be more different in outward appearance. Big, strong, hairy Marcus and the much slighter and effeminate Frankie. There are other differences too. Marcus wants to live in his small town near his ailing mother and Frankie likes the safety of his large city existence.

My only small niggle with the story was Frankie’s continued mentioning that he was ‘swishy’ and not manly. It continued a bit too much for me. Although I loved the little twist when Marcus was in touch with his own feelings and wanted to be the one who was treated like a princess!

Being stuck in a blizzard, in close proximity with each other, ensures they give in to the temptation for some passionate sex but it the emotional barriers that they need to overcome. Marcus has been hurt in the past and Frankie is afraid of living in a small and potentially prejudiced community. But this is a fairy tale and it’s Christmas so of course all works out in the end for a wonderful…..and they lived happily ever after!

❄❄❄❄ ❄❄❄❄

To find out more about Heidi Cullinan and her books visit her website.

Buy Let It Snow from Amazon.

Advertisements
Image

The Ranch Foreman by Rob Colton

The Ranch ForemanThe Ranch Foreman by Rob Colton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb…

When Madison “Matty” Ward finds himself out of work and without a place to live, his cousin comes through with a job on the Gates cattle ranch. Despite not knowing anything about herding cattle or taking care of horses, Matty does his best to impress the older hunky foreman, Baxter Hollingsworth. Baxter is drawn to the new young hand, but he’s deeply closeted, and after an openly gay veterinarian shows he’s interested in Matty, Baxter’s repressed feelings lead to an explosive encounter. Baxter then withdraws—leaving Matty feeling angry and used—until an accident forces him to confront his fears.

So what did I think?

The Ranch Foreman has a fairly standard plot – closeted foreman meets new guy on the ranch – but I was still looking forward to reading it. It was a pleasant way to pass an hour or two but I could tell I really wasn’t totally into the story when I found myself spending time trying to visualise strange sexual positions (from a practicality not erotic perspective!) rather than focusing on the characters and emotions.

I just didn’t warm to either of the characters and found their falling for each other hard to believe. I could understand the physical attraction and the sex but I didn’t see the basis for anything more. Their first sexual experience was a bit off-putting and not the ideal way I would have liked to see the relationship start. So while I enjoyed reading the story, I wasn’t emotionally engaged.

Back to the weird sexual positions…Baxter and Matty hook up ‘anonymously’ at a public rest stop. Baxter crouched in his cubicle, putting his important bits under the stall partition. Matty also squats and proceeds with the bj. All I kept thinking is that either the partition didn’t make it very far to the ground, or Baxter must have had really flexible hips to get his knees out of the way to get close enough to get his bits under. Matty must have got a really sore neck from bending and how did they both not just loose balance and fall on their asses! Obviously I am not very experienced at public toilet sex!

I am going to check out some other books from this author so have just bought My Handyman and Salvation.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Rob Colton and his books visit his website.

Buy The Ranch Foreman from Amazon.

Buy The Ranch Foreman from Dreamspinner.

 

Image

Windfall by Amanda Young

WindfallWindfall by Amanda Young

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Landon and Daniel have been best friends since grade school. Through thick and thin, they’ve always been able to rely on each other. So it only seems natural for Landon to step in and offer assistance when Daniel has a run of bad luck.

Moving in together and splitting the bills seems like a simple solution to Daniel’s financial problems. However, sharing close quarters makes it difficult to keep less than platonic feelings on the down low.

The line between friends and lovers blurs during a late night moment of weakness fueled by alcohol, leaving both men on uneven ground. Just when they think they have things worked out and might have a shot at something more than friendship, a sudden, shared windfall provokes all new complications that could end more than the new physical side of their relationship.

So what did I think?

“I have been happier in the past week than I ever imagined possible and it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the money. You’re the real prize, The lottery was just a bonus.”

Windfall is a feel-good story, a pleasant escape into a world where it is possible to win the lottery and also get the man of your dreams at the same time!

I got this book as a freebie from All Romance eBooks but at the time of writing this review it is no longer on sale. However at only a couple of dollars, it’s still not bad value for a sweet friends-to-lovers story. Daniel and Landon have been friends for a long time and Landon secretly loves Daniel. When circumstances bring them together, Landon moving in to help Daniel get through a rough patch, Daniel starts to realise he has feelings too. These guys are pretty hot together and there’s a little bit of drama thrown in too.

I really enjoy a friends-to-lovers story so a nice way to spend an hour or so!

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Amanda Young and her books visit her website.

Buy Windfall from Amazon.

Image

✯✯✯✯ My Hero by Max Vos ✯✯✯✯

My HeroMy Hero by Max Vos

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

When he was sixteen years old, Rich Miller saved a young man from drowning at his local pool. Little did he know that years later, as a senior in college and Olympic diving hopeful, Rich would meet up once again with Johnny Milloway, now a big football player – and when Rich says big, he really means ‘bear’. The shy jock remembers his savior, and the two men become friends.

Johnny isn’t put off by the fact that Rich is gay. In fact, the more time he spends with Rich, the more curious he becomes. Johnny wants to know all kinds of things – what it’s like to kiss a guy, for instance. Only it doesn’t stop there…

Rich finds it difficult to believe that this relationship can go anywhere. Johnny is straight, and Rich isn’t prepared to deal with the heartache he knows will come his way in the future. He has enough on his plate as it is – the Worlds are just around the corner, his father would rather watch a football game than spend time watching his son dive…. What he doesn’t count on is Johnny, who can be very determined. And having Johnny in his life proves to be a catalyst for some pretty earth-shattering changes.

So what did I think?

Max Vos is my hero – I was craving a sweet story with sexy athletes at it’s heart and he delivered!

This is a college story. Rich is a champion diver and Johnny is a star football layer, a few years younger than Rich. An incident in their past, where Rich saved Johnny’s life, provides a bond that starts their friendship when they meet again years later.

This story packs a lot in, from Rich being bullied (and Johnny of course standing up for him!), Rich’s issues with his father, Johnny’s awakening sexuality and some really dumb (and totally annoying) stuff done by Johnny. Yes, Johnny did something really stupid!

There is obviously a deep emotional connection between Rich and Johnny, well before they acknowledge it to each other. And the sex…let’s just say that for two sweet characters, the sex can get downright dirty!

I adored cousin Anita – every family needs someone who pulls no punches and gets straight to the point – honest, funny and accepting! And Mr and Mrs Milloway Johnny’s parents, were wonderful as well. They seemed to know more about Johnny than he knew himself.

This book has it’s sweet moments and it’s intense sex and a lovely emotional happy ending. It might be a bit over the top in places for some but I was totally in the mood for the emotional romantic bits! “He propelled himself off the tower over the shimmering water into a swan dive, his body, mind and spirit free. Free to love and be loved. And he flew higher than he had ever flown before, with love uplifting him, keeping him in flight. Free.”

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Max Vos and his books visit his blog.

Buy My Hero from Amazon

Image

Freshman Orientation by Brandon Reed

Freshman Orientation (Pauer Bautam University #1)Freshman Orientation by Brandon Reed

The blurb…

Welcome to Pauer Bautam University… where gays… young and old… come to play.

Hunky college senior Ryan Kelly hasn’t gotten any in weeks… but that’s about to change. A new wave of freshmen are swarming the college campus, and he’s got his eyes set on a young hottie named Sean. Will Ryan’s dry spell finally come to an end?

So what did I think?

This was a short, somewhat amusing story about Ryan, a senior setting his sights on the incoming freshman. His focus is sex not love and it is not smooth sailing.

Ryan meets the twink of his dreams who happens to share a class with him. Sean is surprisingly open to his advances and what follows are a series of encounters where things (raccoon’s included!) seem to prevent Ryan from reaching his ultimate ending.

In the end he gets more than he hoped for – fabulous sex with Sean and a mad case of reciprocal insta-love!

The story is fairly simple, there’s a big focus on the sex (where the use of the word ‘penis’ was overused in my opinion!) and I’m still undecided about whether or not to continue the series.

2.5/3 stars – I think it would get more stars if the story continued beyond the current end point with a focus on the relationship development. There are 5 installments to the story which are all available in Ryan & Sean: The Complete Saga

My favourite part of the book was the Warning…….Explicit Gay Sex Ahead. But I’m guessing that’s partly why you bought this ebook, isn’t it? J – very cute!

A copy of this book was provided by the author via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Brandon Reed and his books visit his Goodreads Profile.

Buy Freshmen Orientation from Amazon.

Image

☼☼☼☼ Everything Under the Sun by Rachel West ☼☼☼☼

Everything Under the SunEverything Under the Sun by Rachel West

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

What do you do when you have every choice in the world at your fingertips and no idea what you want? Ever since Chris Bennett graduated high school a year ago, he’s been trying to figure out what’s next. His lifeguarding job has kept him busy, and in southern California, poolside isn’t a bad place to be. But he’s spent most of his time thinking about Seth, the former classmate who became something more for a few brief moments last summer. Now Seth is back, but he seems to be running toward Chris and running away from him at the same time. Meanwhile, Chris is increasingly drawn to Alex, his gorgeous new neighbor who puts up a sexy, confident front but may be harboring a few romantic demons of his own. Chris doesn’t know which direction to go, either in life or in love. But by the time he figures it out, will the right person still be around to want him back?

So what did I think?

I really enjoyed this short book. It was a sweet romance but with lots of hot sex!

Chris (nineteen) is not going anywhere with his life, undecided about his career and lusting after Seth who does not seem to share his feelings. After being hurt by Seth, he finds himself in the arms of his older (twenty six) and gorgeous neighbour.

Alex has been hurt in the past and had sworn never to give his heart to anyone again but he finds himself drawn to Chris who he finds “Different. Funny. Beautiful.” Reluctantly he initiates a very eager Chris into the joys of sex – hot sex and often! But as Seth makes an appearance to stake his own claim on Chris, they all have to analyse their feelings and work out what they really want.

I loved the characters of Chris and Alex, was suitably annoyed by Seth and adored Alex’s best friend Marty. And I love the ending where Chris finally started making some decisions and going after what he really wanted.

Plus my mum made an appearance in this book, popping up midway to say…“This is not about a curfew. This is about human decency. This is about acting responsibly. This is about you knowing that I’m not going to know where you are, knowing that I’m worrying about you, and choosing not to call and just let me know that you’re alive.”. Okay, so it was Chris’ mom but I definitely got the same lecture multiple times from my own mother! 🙂

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Rachel West and her books visit her website.

Buy Everything Under The Sun from Amazon.

Buy Everything Under The Sun from Dreamspinner.

Image

As Spring Rain by Valentina Heart

As Spring RainAs Spring Rain by Valentina Heart

My rating: 2.5 to 3 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Michael only wants for his twin brother to be safe as he picks one bad boyfriend after another, never even lingering on the thought of loving Michael the way Michael loves him.

All Gabriel wants is Michael, each morning when he faces the day, and each night when he pulls a stranger’s face in for a kiss instead of the one he wants the most.

Fixing Gabriel’s boyfriend problems is a way of life for Michael, but what he doesn’t know happens behind closed doors, where Gabriel welcomes each kick or hit, and where he numbs his pain with the sharp edge of a razorblade.

Can they find a solution to their situation and make both of them happy?

So what did I think?

“Maybe I would dream again, that dream where he is not my brother but my lover and where it is perfectly normal to hug a man who looked just like me, but wasn’t me at all.”

This is one of those books where I have very mixed feelings.

Firstly let me start by saying it’s twincest. This is okay by me. I am perfectly fine with twincest although I understand lots wouldn’t be. So if the twincest doesn’t put you off, keep reading…

I bought this book months and months ago and it has sat unread on the Kindle since then. I finally started reading it this week without reading the blurb (although I assume I must have read it at some point). I think if I’d read the blurb I would have put off reading the book for a bit longer.
The reason for this is very personal. In recent months I have become aware of some people in my personal circle dealing with self-harm. So this one was a bit too close to home. I found it really uncomfortable to read about Gabriel’s cutting. Knowing it was only a short book, I persevered through these bits.

The characters were frustrating in their actions. Although twins they had very different characters and very different ways of dealing with their feelings toward each other. Michael protects Gabriel and Gabriel keeps putting himself in harm’s way with a series of abusive relationships.

I wanted them both to be happy and wanted them to get together but in the end, the way this happened was a bit out of my comfort zone – too much pain and sadness and blood.

Maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind but I just felt depressed reading this. So a warning, be aware it contains self-harm in the way of cutting and maybe check out some other reviews to see if this is a story for you.

2.5 to 3 stars (this was difficult for me to rate and I find it hard to say I liked it)

To find out more about Valentina Heart and her books visit her website.

Image

How I Met Your Father by L.B. Gregg

How I Met Your FatherHow I Met Your Father by L.B. Gregg

My rating: 3.5  of 5 stars

The blurb…

The man of your dreams could be sitting right next to you. 

Former boy band member Justin Hayes isn’t looking for a man. He just wants a quiet, scandal-free Christmas at home in Chicago, out of the public eye. But his best friend and bandmate is subjecting everyone to his destination wedding, and Justin can’t dodge the “best man” bullet. All he has to do is get to the island on time, survive the reunion, and get Chuck to the altar with as little drama as possible. What could possibly go wrong?

Jack Bassinger’s own plans for a quiet Christmas have been dashed by the summons to his daughter’s hasty wedding with a man Jack has hardly met. On the bumpy flight to the island, he finds himself comforting a nervous—and extremely attractive—young man. One hasty sexual encounter in an airport bathroom later, they both feel much better. No one ever has to know, after all.

Now Justin and Jack must find a way to explore their attraction, despite the distractions of disapproving family members, unexpected announcements, an impromptu concert, and an island paradise that proves there’s no place like home.

20% of all proceeds from this title are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York, whose mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.” To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit http://www.aliforneycenter.org/.

So what did I think?

This was a fun short story that made for a nice quick read – a bit of escapism with humour, a hot airport encounter, sweet romance and lots of secondary characters to keep things moving along at a rapid pace.

“Heat blistered my cheeks. Mandy could never find out I’d had sex with her father. Notever. Those were five words I wouldn’t string together in this lifetime.: Sorry I had your dad.”

Justin is heading to the wedding of his best friend and fellow band member, when the plane experiences turbulence. His seat partner provides a comforting focal point. Once they are off the plane, Jack follows him to the men’s room for a hot and sexy encounter…
“Adrenaline. Anonymity. Age. You didn’t know me. I didn’t know you. And you loved it.”
I swallowed.
“I knew you would. I knew it the second I saw you….”

Jack and Justin (a doctor) work really well together in this story which includes wedding antics, being caught by family and friends, coming out to the rest of the wedding guests, rock stars and overcoming age obstacles.

And this is book will definitely hit the spot if you are a fan of super duper romantic endings….

3.5 romantic stars.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about L.B. Gregg and her books visit her website.

Buy How I Met Your Father from Amazon.

Buy How I Met Your Father from Riptide Publishing.

Image

★★★★★ Long Time Gone by S.E. Jakes ★★★★★

The Hell or High Water series

  • Catch a Ghost (book #1) – click here for review
  • Long Time Gone (book #2) – in this review
  • Dirty Deeds (book 1 in the Dirty Deeds spin-off series) – due for release Jan 2014 but available now for pre-order from Riptide

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

Long Time Gone (Hell or High Water, #2)Long Time Gone by S.E. Jakes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The blurb…

When a tornado meets a volcano, nothing is safe.

Soldier of fortune Prophet Drews always worked alone—until Tom Boudreaux became his partner. But when Tom walked away three months ago, ostensibly to keep Prophet safe, Prophet learned the true meaning of being alone. Everyone knows that Prophet, a Navy SEAL turned CIA spook turned mercenary, can look after himself. Which means he must’ve driven his lover away.

Even with half a world between them, Prophet can’t get the man out of his head. Maybe that’s why he’s in New Orleans in the middle of a hurricane, protecting Tom’s aunt. But the only looter around is Tom, bursting back into Prophet’s life. It turns out that Prophet’s been stuck in Tom’s head—and heart—too.

Their explosive reunion gets even hotter when Tom is arrested for murder. As they fight to clear his name, they delve deep into his past, finding enemies among everyone they meet. Staying alive in such a dangerous world is hard enough, but they soon discover that fighting to stay together is the most difficult thing they’ve ever done.

So what did I think?

Let me start by saying that I love this series! It hits all the right buttons and races along with masses of action, lots of mystery and a good amount of mad, hot and passionate sex!

We first met Prophet and Tom in Catch A Ghost which ends with them parting and Tom heading off with his new partner to Eritrea. But the impact they made on each other draws them back together as they both arrive at Tom’s aunt’s place on the bayou to help her survive a hurricane. Wow – the reunion sex is stunning!

“This was past and present slamming together. And his future was the man who was holding him, which hit Tom as hard as it must be hitting Prophet. But their reunion on the grass and the kitchen wall and floor and in his bedroom…that told the tale.”

The pace is fast with lots of action as Tom finds himself caught up in a situation arising from an event in his childhood. The sheriff has it in for him and he winds up implicated in a series of murders. This book gives insight into Tom’s past, his father, his mother, his ex….It is also wonderful to see Prophet’s further coming to terms with his feelings for Tommy.

My only minor gripe with this series is the sheer complexity of the characters and their histories. I’m not sure if it’s just me but at times I get a little confused with the secondary characters, the back stories and trying to understand how they all fit together. But on the other hand I like the mystery and secrets. So is it just me missing something or am I supposed to be confused?

Dirty Deeds, the first book in a spin off series will follow. It is Mal and Cillian’s story! Can’t wait! It’s due for release in January 2014 but available now for pre-order from Riptide.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

 To find out more about S.E. Jakes and her books visit her website.

Buy Long Time Gone from Amazon.

Buy Long Time Gone from Riptide.

Image

Taking A Chance by Anne Brooke

Taking A ChanceTaking A Chance by Anne Brooke

My rating: 3.5  of 5 stars

The blurb…

The moment model and part-time actor Benjamin spots the sexually alluring David outside his local restaurant, he’s determined to get to know him better. So he takes a chance and pretends to be Timothy, the blind date David is waiting for.

When David asks him about submission, safe words and spanking, Benjamin knows the sensible thing to do would be to leave. Funny then how he finds himself eager to know more. Will it be a date to remember and, if David discovers his deceit, could he ever be persuaded to take a chance on Benjamin?

So what did I think?

This was a fun short story about acting on the spur of the moment and seeing where life takes you! Maybe not the safest thing to do but it all worked out in the end for Benjamin.

The idea was interesting – when an attractive man outside a restaurant asks if he is ‘Timothy’, Benjamin says yes. What follows is a very interesting first date with an unusual alley encounter and ‘Timothy’ can’t resist going home with David.

Timothy and David have shared an online introduction so know a bit about each other so it is amusing to watch Benjamin try to make sense of what is going on. What is going on is a foray into the world of dominance and submission and it turns out that Benjamin is a natural and an eager student.

David is kind and caring and plays by the rules, shocked at ‘Timothy’s’ apparent disregard for his own safety and treatment at the hands of a previous lover. He treats ‘Timothy’ with respect and teaches him slowly as they have their first encounter – and it is HOT! I actually would have enjoyed seeing a lot more of the two of them together and was slightly disappointed there wasn’t more.

Lots of fun and an enjoyable short story! 3.5 stars

A copy of this story was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.

❅❅❅❅❅❅❅

To find out more about Anne Brooke and her books, visit her website.

Buy Taking  A Chance from Wilde City Press.